Nearly two fifths (37%) of adults in Wales and the South West say that they are worried about their current level of debt, a new survey of over 2,000 British adults by insolvency trade body R3 and ComRes has found.
This is an increase since April last year, when 32% of adults in the region said the same thing.
In Britain, 40% of adults say they are worried about their current level of debt, a figure which has grown from 34% in April 2018.
Overall in Britain, half (48%) of adults who say they are worried about their current level of debt cite credit cards as worrying, followed by overdrafts (18%), mortgage repayments, bank loans (both 16%), and loans from family or friends (14%).
The percentage of adults in Wales and the South West who say they do not have any savings at all at the moment – 1 in 5 (18%) – has remained broadly the same as in April last year (17%). The relatively large numbers of people without savings is of concern, as the volume of outstanding consumer credit has been growing ever since the end of 2012.
Two in five (39%) adults in Wales and the South West report that they often or sometimes struggle to make it to payday, around the same as the figure for all British adults (40%). This is higher than the proportion of adults in Wales and the South West who said the same in April 2018 (33%).
In Britain overall, people who said they struggled to make it to payday named the cost of food (52%), household energy costs (excluding petrol/diesel) (42%), fuel or transport costs (35%), and making credit card repayments (24%) as reasons for struggling financially.
Philip Winterborne of R3’s Wales and South West Committee, and Insolvency and Turnaround partner at Temple Bright solicitors, commented:
“The picture painted by our research of people’s personal finances in Wales and the South West is quite a concerning one, especially the increase since last April of people who say they are worried about their current level of debt.
“Unemployment rates are at a record low, but with many people reporting that they don’t have any savings, it appears that many people’s levels of financial resilience are lower than they should be. The figures on the proportion of people who say they struggle to payday back this up – there’s too much month at the end of the money.
“The rises in minimum wage levels this April will bring a measure of relief for lots of people, but will be partly offset in some cases by the increase at the same time of automatic pension enrolment contributions. With wage growth having trailed inflation for a long period, there’s still a lot of catching up to be done before the difference is felt in people’s pockets.
“Anyone who is experiencing financial pressures should talk to a regulated and professional advisor, and get appropriate help and support – there is always something that can be done to help, once that initial step to speak to someone has been taken.”